Sleep had come surprisingly easy in the days and weeks that had passed since Amea had come back from Dantooine. In this place, this new home, there were no nightmares. There was no void that had to be filled. The guilt of murder had managed to slip off of her shoulders even if it had never been hers to feel to begin with. In truth, it was hardly even Runi’s to carry either. This Adrian Vandiir person had been granted a chance to leave and let them get their work done and he had chosen not to. He had gotten a chance to choose how he went out and in the end Amea could only hope that he had found some measure of peace in that.

Although Amea still found that her wounds still hurt when she stood for too long or took too deep of a breath, vision had seemingly come back to some semblance of normal. Small scars from the patchwork she had been granted still remained, but all in all she was on the path to recovery. It had helped that she was in a good place, somewhere she felt safe enough to let her guard down and truly let someone take care of her as much as she took care of them.

As she laid in bed she wallowed in the warmth of the soft arm that had snaked around her waist to offer her comfort. A set of slow and gentle breaths kept Amea awake and yet they weren’t hers. It was the thoughts, the events of the last few days, and everything leading up to this point that had put her in this state. Her salvation came in the form of three quick vibrations that buzzed against her wrist with an insistent chime. They pried Amea’s eyes away from the comforting darkness from beyond her eyelids and into the piercing brightness of her holo-device. The hand that had rested against her stomach had moved to try and smack away the obnoxious shine with a few tired slaps against Amea’s wrist. The wrist-bearer and ruiner of sleep gave a quick laugh at the display before she moved the wrist out of reach and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Jaxter?” She asked and raised her other wrist before her to rub her eyes awake. “Can this wait? I am sort of in the middle of something here.”

“What? Are you sleeping it all away? Already?” The Snivvian man chucklesnorted as if he had just heard the funniest joke in weeks. “Really?”

“Mhm.” Amea groaned and let out a long sigh. “Really.”

“Get up. It’s just some broad. Get dressed and call me back,” His expression changed drastically, mirth settled into a contemplative frown. “I’ve got something important that you have to see.”

The man hung up and Amea was faced with another measure of darkness again, this time one that wasn’t even remotely as inviting.

“Okay, first off—” Amea began but never finished. Her brows furrowed in anger, a quiet grumble parted her lips. “Kark you, Jax.”

A soft stir behind her forced Amea to remain in place for a bit longer. Her hand brushed against the Echani woman’s arm to get her to fall asleep again, and once there was no doubt about it Amea eased herself out of bed to make herself at least somewhat presentable before she staggered out to the terminal by the engine room and punched in the man’s digits.

“Am—” He tried.

“Next time you decide to call my girlfriend a ‘broad’, I will end you, Jax.” Amea scowled and stared the man down for a moment before she took a deep breath, brushed an imaginary fleck of dust off her shoulder, and fell back into something more appropriate for a work-related conversation. “Now, what was so damn important that I had to get out of bed just to see you?”

“Right. My bad, Ams. I didn’t know.” Jaxter spoke, his voice laced with embarrassment until he cleared his throat and returned with the serious look. “Look, I know I messed up with the job. The intel was faulty.”

“Nayc osi’kyr.” Amea muttered, arms rested on her chest as she glanced away from the man. “We barely made it out, you’re lucky that there was no-one left alive who managed to ID us properly.”

The man cleared his throat. “Yeah, actually about that…”

Amea’s eyes went wide as she glanced back at the screen. A quick glance went over her shoulder to ensure that Evelyn wasn’t standing there before her head began to shake in denial of the fact. “No.” She spoke under her breath and turned back towards the screen. “Jaxter don’t you dare say it. Cha sey fa.”

The screen lit up with a poster of one very prominently featured ‘Runi Verin’ on it. Amea grasped at her cheek, dug her nails into her skin and slowly began to drag it down towards her jawline. This whole job was just one big cluster bomb of bad moves and cascading consequences. A long, frustrated sigh blew from her nose as she shot fire from her eyes at the man on the other end of this screen.

“Jax…” Amea glared at him. Her teeth grinded as she struggled to find the words that she needed to describe how she truly felt. “That better be all that there was to it.”

The man nervously adjusted his collar before a new bounty appeared on the screen. It was a different one, a bounty for the murderer’s associate. There was no direct image of Amea attached, but there was certainly a somewhat accurate reconstruction of her general features. Brown-haired, brown-eyed. Tan skin, looks and stride of a mercenary. Wanted dead or alive, although ‘alive’ certainly struck Amea as a formality more than anything.

Amea threw her fist in the air, slammed it down towards the console but quickly strained to keep from so much as touching it. She didn’t want Evelyn awake for this one, she didn’t need to see Amea like this. Not yet. A long, hissed, uncouth chain of expletives parted through her teeth as she slowly paced back and forth in front of the screen with her hands flailing angrily in the air. There was no doubt about it, she should have taken the shot while she still had it in those caves. Pulled the plug on this ever having been able to become a thing. This was definitely the widow’s doing.

The tension in her arms caused them to shake. She wanted to scream, she wanted to let it all out and punch something, but she knew better than that. Another long sigh of frustration burst through her nose and she turned back towards Jax again. With a deep breath and another long exhale she was back in the game again.

“Alright, I’ll lie low. Keep my head down and we’ll see which way this all crumbles.” Amea sighed and shook her head, shuffled in place and looked up at the man that had fixed this job for her. “Thanks for the heads up, Jax. I’ll be in touch once I figure out a way to get a handle on the situation.”

“Jax out.” The screen faded and Amea found herself alone. By then she was hunched over the terminal with nothing but her own thoughts, her face burrowed into her hands, her elbows being the only thing that kept her from smashing into the table’s surface with a bang. This was not how she had expected this to play out. She knew the risks, but she hadn’t really thought it’d play out quite like this.

The weight on her feet shifted and she let herself slide down the cold metallic surface of the console and into an embrace with no-one but herself. For a solid minute she let the back of her head beat against the wall with a mute thud until the soft pitter-patter of padded feet against metallic floors made its way over towards her. The small, tiny, very-not-big, little luminescent creature that lived with her and Evelyn gently tugged at her leg to get her attention. Amea’s eyes set on Hoshi with a frown, her tears held back for a moment before she cracked a smile and reached out for him.

“What do I do, Hoshi?” Amea sighed and put her hand atop of the creature’s head and wiggled it around to pet it. “That fool has really gone and put my foot up the nerf’s shabuir.”

Though short, the creature managed to partially wrap around Amea with a gentle hug before it began to tug at her again and beckon her back to bed. Her lips thinned out into a weak smile as she gave the little thing a tight hug and gave in to its unspoken demands.

For each step that she took, the realization slowly dawned on her that maybe this wasn’t the end. Maybe this was a beginning and an opportunity. The closer to bed she got, the more probable the feeling got. She was going to be okay for as long as there was a place where she was happy, where she had people she could rely on. Today and in this very moment it was only a few steps away down a warm steel corridor, but tomorrow it could be somewhere else entirely. Evelyn would be there, and so would many others when the day came that someone would try and take Amea away.

Actually yeah, that was the way to look at it. By the time she had reached the bed again everything felt just the slightest bit more okay. Amea who had kept her eyes open finally found the courage to close them again as Evelyn wrapped her arms around her waist once more. Despite her initial reaction, this really just meant that things went back to normal. If anything this was a bright new beginning. Yes, a brighter future and a properly extended middle finger to the dark empires of the galaxy. One that Amea would gladly keep extended until they all keeled over and died or someone cut from her cold dead hands.

No, it wasn’t just a simple bounty on her head anymore. It was a declaration of war, and Amea had more than enough contacts who would love nothing more than a chance to spit in defiance at the false would-be Emperors and Empresses of the galaxy.

But first sleep. The rest she could figure out later.